Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Are You My Family??

Over the past, oh six months or so, I have found myself redefining what exactly I think it means to be a family, have a family—really just the word family in general.

You see, while my immediate family (mom, dad, sister) is not at at all blended, my mother’s family is quite the smoothie. Throw some bananas, some strawberries, and a few nuts into a blender, and you would have my mother’s family.

As a little girl, it was something that I loved. Something that I thrived on really. All the cousins that became the  instant playmates. All the aunts and uncles who were there to pick you up and kiss the hurt away when you fell down. It was loud, crazy, and always hot—no matter how many windows were left open in the middle of December. And I loved it.

It didn’t matter to me that some of them weren’t even biologically related to me. It was what I had always known; the only thing that I had ever known. They were still my family.

But then…then something happened. I grew up.

I wasn’t the naive, little girl anymore who was satisfied with a hug and a lollipop. I wanted to see the family tree; to see exactly where I had come from. To see how these people made me, me. And still I held onto the same view, the same faith. They were still my family.

But a few months ago, the drama, the jealousy, the hurt that lay beneath the cracks; all the "big, adult, real world” stuff that had been invisible to me as a child, suddenly became as clear as glass. And all of a sudden I was left falling down the big, black hole grasping to find something to catch my fall. Because the thing that I had called my family for eighteen long years, wasn’t the same thing that I was calling my family today. And it sucked.

For eighteen years I had identified myself as a member of this big, huge family and all of a sudden I was left standing there, questioning every thing. Motives, actions, reactions. Every thing. For the first time in eighteen years, I wasn’t really sure who I even was.

But I think I’m finally starting to figure it all out.

I always thought family was more than blood.

I had my family that was biologically related to me and my family that didn’t share a single strand of similar DNA with me. But I loved them both the same. It was bigger than blood. There was no distinction—you’re my family and you’re not. They were all my family.

Now I'm not so sure that blood even makes you family.

And now, as I sit here, I think I know exactly who my family is. They don’t all share my genes, or biologically make me, me. But they’re still my family. And on the flipside…just because I share genes with a person, it doesn’t automatically make them my family either.

Family is bigger than blood and yet, blood doesn’t make you family.

Because to me, to me my family is made up of  the people who love me, care for me, and want me to become the best person I can be. No questions asked.

They do not purposely hurt me or others members of my family whether it may be physically or emotionally. They do not brag, boast or lie to paint a picture prettier than it may really be. Because with my family there is no need to lie. Because family is bigger than that; my family is about love and understanding. And this is my family.

Some are related to me by marriage, others are related to me by science, and still some are simply those who have been placed in my life’s path by some twist of fate.

And that is my family. At least for today.

I am a growing, reflecting, liberal arts philosophy-living girl after all.

Tomorrow I could feel totally different. But…I doubt it.

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